Time for Masochism

Whenever I go out, there are always some Guardian Angels watching over me, escorting me. They let me know very clearly that they are there. I guess they are from the LoveTrum Show.

Sometimes they also tell me something. But they don’t come and talk to me and say it directly. They do it in very creative ways, some of which are quite amusing. They usually do that after I do something like write a blog post that may be rings some bells. Or may be they do it just as part of the show, as given in the script, written in real-time.

Sometimes they are normal people and other times they look like tough guys. Occasionally I also get a few policemen (armed or unarmed) suddenly appearing from somewhere and just walking by slowly near me. They do it in ways that ensure that there is no chance that I miss them, even if I am, or pretend to be, lost in another world. For example, they might first pass me by in one direction (slowly, with firm steps), stay nearby for some time and then turn back and again pass me by (slowly), walking in the opposite direction, going back to where they came from. Sometimes they just wait at some place (usually three of them) and make sure that I notice their presence, and when I have passed them by, they again go back. They wear very serious faces.

These are one kind. There are others, who don’t wear serious faces. They are as in-your-face as they can be while, at the same time, maintaining plausible deniability.

But quite often they are (or look like) normal people, going about their business. Except that they have some assignment with me.

A few days ago, as I was waiting for a train, a man came and sat next to me (normally people don’t like to sit near me, which is a bare fact that I state here, because of its relevance). He opened a book (in English) and opened a chapter titled ‘The Masochistic Character’. He just made sure that I saw the title and then closed the book. Books have been used before recently, for this purpose. I guess it has been noticed that books are among the sights that I tend to ogle at, irresistibly.

That was one of the comments that are sent to me indirectly. Now, it will be futile to contest the implication, as the ad-hominem is impervious to any form of reasoning or facts. So I will just let it be.

But the word is very useful for our times. Isn’t it a raging trend on the planet? It can be used for two opposite kinds of people, making up most of the population of the planet.

Consider the following:

There are people losing jobs. Social security and health care are under threat (where they exist at all). The gap between the rich and the rest increases like never before. And what does a large fraction of the population (perhaps a majority) say to this? They say, with their votes and otherwise, Bravo for Privatization!

(I, on the other hand, prefer Bravo pour le Clown!).

There are public services which are being cut and are being prepared to be either dismantled (so that profit making can be possible for those services), or they are being privatized. And what do the public sector employees say to this? Well, a considerable fraction of them actually favour privatization and takeover by corporations. Am I out of touch? Am I talking nonsense? No, sir. I know what I am talking about. I don’t have the wherewithal to provide you with empirical evidence, but time will provide that. It won’t do any good then, of course, but that’s how it is.

In most parts of the world, a number of victories were won during the last two centuries. For personal liberties. For equality. For social justice. And so on. All of them are being slowly (not that slowly) rolled back. We have accepted being under the camera in numerous public places, where once we could hope for privacy and anonymity. We tolerate, in fact, a lot of us actively support ever more intrusive ‘security measures’, even as many of us make a lot of noise about a single case of phone hacking, as if it was the only incident of its kind, when, in fact, it is now a routine. The humiliating excercises at the airports, for example. Love the humiliation. The very definition of masochism.

These are the first kind of masochists.

And if you do oppose all this? Then there is plenty of pain and humiliation waiting for you, depending on how you are situated. If, in spite of that, you continue with your opposition, you are sure to get more pain and humiliation, thus making you a candidate for the label masochist. That is what the book-comment to me was about.

This is the second kind of masochism.

There are cases where the only way to register your opposition is by actions that would appear to be very clear manifestations of masochism. Think of groups like the Code Pink. Or even Greenpeace, in many cases. If they are masochist, and if those kind of actions are masochist, I would be proud to be that kind of masochist.

I am a particularly good candidate for the label. Since I know that I am in the show (or on the show), I have almost stopped all the business that is associated with living for most people. The situation with the Guardian Angels is actually much worse indoors, especially in the electronic world. I try my best to make my appearance on the show as boring as possible. Where nothing happens. The character doesn’t say or do anything. Well, he writes a little, but that is public anyway. What else he would want to write might become part of the interesting action, so its not being done.

A few months ago I had shifted from one job to another and I was sending my things in installments by a courier. I took great care to send my notebooks in which I used to scribble a little (as if there was much of importance in them!) in a well packed carton. And I sent it by air, incurring a lot of expense. And I tried to make sure that there wouldn’t be any way of guessing which one contained these notebooks. But just as I had feared, that carton, among more than 20 that I had sent, was the only one that was clearly opened. No attempt was even made to hide the fact that it was opened. Well, actually, there was an attempt, just enough to ensure plausible deniability. It was made to look as it it had got damaged. You know, the way people get tortured in Indian police stations and then when they are in the court (or released), it is claimed that they fell down and hurt themselves. And they have to go along with the story. Or else. Anyway, all other cartons arrived in perfect condition. And this one, along with some others that I had sent with it (I sent them in several different lots) arrived at the destination much later than the ones that I had sent by surface.

These are just a couple of examples, out of those that have been happening regularly for the last ten years or more.

You think I am crazy? Before passing a judgement, just have a look at the videos of the currently going on Electoral Conventions in Greatest Democracy on Earth.

You might say that I am lucky that it was just the carton, not myself. Hate to admit it, but you would be right.

But this was just an extension of the norm for the last many years. For all these years, my letters almost always reached me in opened condition. A few were, in fact, clearly torn deliberately. Or they don’t arrive at all.

Not to mention the Internet and the phones.

So no interesting action.

Going to that length just to register my protest? That sure is a red flag.

(Even if there is some reason for saying that I wasn’t much good anyway at that business that I have stopped.)

People love such red flags these days. But they love them so much on others, that they fail to notice the ones on themselves.

Oh, you say you do oppose all the evil things going on, but you don’t love the pain and humiliation? (Or perhaps, in your situation, you don’t get enough of it to make you notice). Well, neither do I. But, as someone who was a very good representative of our times, said (he was, arguably, the symbolic inaugurator of our times), Facts Don’t Matter. Not in the mainstream, at least.

Only spin does.




Networking Rebellion: Digital Policing and Revolt in the Arab Uprisings


Big Brother on a budget: How Internet surveillance got so cheap

Deep packet inspection, petabyte-scale analytics create a “CCTV for networks.”


Wired for Repression


Gov’t, certificate authorities conspire to spy on SSL users?

Author: anileklavya

मैं सांगणिक भाषाविज्ञान (Computational Linguistics) में एक शोधकर्ता हूँ। इसके अलावा मैं पढ़ता हूँ, पढ़ता हूँ, पढ़ता हूँ, और कुछ लिखने की कोशिश भी करता हूँ। हाल ही मैं मैने ज़ेडनेट का हिन्दी संस्करण (http://www.zmag.org/hindi) भी शुरू किया है। एक छोटी सी शुरुआत है। उम्मीद करता हूँ और लोग भी इसमें भाग लेंगे और ज़ेडनेट/ज़ेडमैग के सर्वोत्तम लेखों का हिन्दी (जो कि अपने दूसरे रूप उर्दू के साथ करोड़ों लोगों की भाषा है) में अनुवाद किया जा सकेगा।

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: